day 9: hot chocolate yogurt

Today’s yogurt was terrifying.

This stuff would probably place at least second in a contest for the most revolting concoction of the 21st century. Grossly acidic in a carbonated-water-but-not way, the marshmallows all confusingly and crunchily soggy.

I ate all of it in the name of learning, but I would have been much happier without. It was even worse than yesterday’s yogurt, and yesterday I thought things couldn’t get worse.

Warning: grossness below.

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You remember that time in middle school when you ate something vaguely disagreeable but you couldn’t really tell (heart rate normal, palms dry, gas discreet, stomach cramps nonexistent)? And then you had a swimming unit for PE and the chill of the water slowly seeped through the ring of fat around your tummy and then got all cozy in your gut? And then you had to leave early or risk a really gross and unhygienic public accident that your friends would never let you forget?

That never happened to me. But today I gained a newfound sympathy for all the awkward adolescents who have ever had to experience it.

 

After the first failed banana-choco trial, I was thinking about a potential future experiment – adding a bit of water to the hot chocolate powder and making a thick syrup to add to the yogurt. But after half a day of mild yogurt-induced suffering, I feel like I won’t be going anywhere near any unfortunate combinations of fermented dairy and chocolate. Maybe if I run out of ideas before the 30 days are up and get really desperate, but I feel like even the prospect of redoing this experiment would be enough motivation to fuel a month’s worth of unrelated yogurt iterations.

Hopefully tomorrow’s will be better.

Emily

day 8: hot chocolate and banana

Spoiler: this turned out really gross. Not even kidding.

Unrelated note: I declared my English major today yaaaaaaaay!

 

So the pudding and yogurt turned out really well, and that was kind of encouragement for me. And I’ve had the idea of mixing yogurt and hot chocolate powder for a while, because I’ve had hot chocolate packets on hand for a  while and I was like hey why not? because people have done pudding mix and Greek yogurt before anyway.

If you only take one thing away from this post, make it this: it’s a bad idea.

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Seriously.

So I mixed one packet into the yogurt, and it turned pleasantly sweet. But I couldn’t really taste any chocolate, so I thought maybe a second packet will help? So here we have pictures of more chocolate powder on top of hot chocolate yogurt.

See how the yogurt and the powder are already pretty much the same color? Yeah… I should have realized that it wasn’t going to get darker or more chocolatey with an extra packet, but I stupidly forgot that and went ahead and added more anyway.

(also, hot chocolate powder ≠ actual chocolate. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that right away…)

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And this is what it looks like mixed. A little darker, but not much darker. Definitely not very chocolatey at all.

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And then I had the insane idea to mix it with bananas. (at least I’m getting lots of layering practice. Are you tired of layers yet? me too.)

And the one in the back is my experiment/cheat: that’s tomorrow’s yogurt. I’m going to see if letting it sit for a day will help at all.

(let me have my dreams.)

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See the lumps up top? Those are the marshmallows that came in the packet! It was kind of funny actually, I totally forgot that there were marshmallows in the chocolate so when they came out I freaked out for a moment and then I was like ehhhh let’s see how it goes…

It did not go well. I think the really gross mixing was the nth warning, but I soldiered bravely on anyway. Honestly, it looked even grosser when it was all mixed together. I was going to take a picture, but figured nobody really needs to see images that gross…

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You know when you’re in high school and you do really innocently stupid stuff with your friends? I went on a school trip once, and we decided to play some game, and the loser would have to drink a weird concoction made up of everything left at the table.

This tastes exactly like that. Mildly acidic like tea and sprite mixed together, plus a weird smooth consistency with occasional mysterious lumps. And then little nuggets of sharply sweet marshmallow that throw you off because WHAT THE HECK IS THAT my mouth can’t differentiate tastes right now

Sorry if that totally grosses you out. But it was just that gross. My entire digestive tract is still a little unhappy with me, and it’s been 30 minutes.

 

… Fingers crossed that tomorrow’s will be bearable.

Emily

 

day 7: pomegranate Greek yogurt pancakes

Ooops, I had yesterday’s post all written up, and then I was busy and totally forgot to publish it. >.>

 

Anyways. I was all PANCAKES and Google turns up this recipe. So I get Qiao to wake up early with me and trudge over to Trader Joe’s to restock on yogurt. Not even kidding. All I got there was three tubs of yogurt, pizza dough, and pasta sauce.

And so I was really excited to try out different kinds of yogurt and I got a pomegranate Greek yogurt thing. Only thing is, it was 5.3 oz instead of 6oz, and that probably affected the way these cooked up. They were super thick, so I added milk, and then they were weirdly gooey and didn’t rise. They browned really nicely though. They made for pretty pancakes.

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I think it’s the weird milk-yogurt consistency that made it so weirdly goopy in places. Sorry for ugly picture. That thing doesn’t even look like a pancake, it looks like some kind of epic organic abomination. I should give it a name.

(don’t the bubbles near the bottom kind of look like eyes?)

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These also tasted like Greek yogurt, which felt really weird to me. But I’ll try again in a few days? a week? We’ll see if this yogurt indoctrination will change my mind. Also, I want to get this recipe right.

 

Emily

day 6: Greek yogurt and pudding

… because I have pudding and I have yogurt, and I like layers, no matter how gross they end up being. The internet is full of pudding-mix-and-yogurt-healthy-snack-options anyway. I’m just… combining actual pudding and yogurt…

Also because I honestly don’t mind weird combinations most of the time, so I was kind of curious to see what would happen.

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It’s actually kind of pretty, don’t you think? kind of a gentle summer stripe feeling.

Also, I’m getting better at layers! Maybe because it’s all liquids rather than liquid and pokey solids.

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It looks kind of gross and lumpy when it’s half-mixed, though.

Verdict: It was actually really good. Can’t decide if it tasted more like yogurt or pudding. Actually, it tasted pretty much like normal non-Greek sweet yogurt. A surprising success!

 

See you tomorrow.

Emily

 

 

 

day 5: pseudo-tart

So because I still have strawberries (and I feel like I should eat them up quick now), I was all uh oh they’re gonna go bad soon quick what desert do you normally find strawberries in?

None. Strawberries don’t grow in deserts.

Okay sorry. I’m not this awkwardly punny in real life.

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Fruit tarts, though. Fruit tarts are wonderful. I used to be really excited when catering for school events involved tarts. Especially when they were strawberry/kiwi/cream tarts.

And then I thought well I don’t have kiwis but I have strawberries? and Greek yogurt is kind of like cream? vaguely? maybe if you were drunk enough?

So.

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GREEK YOGURT STRAWBERRY TARTS.

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So I made the shells (with this recipe) and then like a true lazy girl, just dumped a spoonful of greek yogurt on top. But I’m not yet insane enough to eat it without drowning it in honey first. Then a strawberry on top to look pretty, and done!

Although I guess if I went to all that trouble to make the tart shells, I’m not really lazy…

Shhhhh.

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I think the zigzags look better than the spirals. But in the end honestly you can’t really tell once you squish a huge strawberry on top anyway.

Anyway, yesterday I was talking about angel food cake. I messed up twice – they didn’t end up rising. The first time I thought it was maybe because I used a nonstick pan (and even with nonstick the cake created this layer of crust-cake that was really hard to clean), so I tried with parchment paper. Because I had such good results with the coffee cake. And the unfortunate results…

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But on the bright side, I got extra egg yolks to make pudding!

Funny story actually. The first time I failed at angel food cake, I failed at the pudding too – instead of using cornstarch, I used baking powder. Because I bought both of them at the same time, and even though this is how different they look my brain was too excited at the thought of pudding to pay attention.

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So I was whisking and whisking like the recipe told me to, and all of a sudden I realize the bubbles aren’t stopping. And I keep stirring because I think it’s part of the process, and all of a sudden it overflows and I realize that something’s probably not right…

The second time though, everything turned out right! I cut the sugar down to about 1/2 cup. Still too sweet, but it’s pudding.

And now, pudding in a tart shell. Next to its Greek yogurt buddy. Although it’s actually really hard to tell, they look pretty much the same except for a slight variation in texture. The one with honey in it is the yogurt one. I’m not sure which one I like better actually. At first I was like why would you settle for Greek yogurt if you have pudding? but the tanginess is pretty nice. So I don’t know.

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In unrelated news, my dad is doing a 30 days of walking thing! Yay for 30 days of effort!

More pudding tomorrow.

Emily

52 days of quiches: week 1

because I’m on a roll! And I’d like to stay on this roll for as long as I can. I like to imagine it’s a spider roll. Or a Seattle roll, because CITY PRIDE right? Right? (actually because avocado and cream cheese yum…)

 

PUNS ASIDE I like quiche, but I’ve never made it and it’s spring break so why not? And I definitely can’t do a quiche a day (putting aside the effort, I’d be rolling down the hill to school by next month) but a quiche a week is manageable? I hope. School starts tomorrow so we’ll see…

Honestly I’ve been having so many food-exploration related ideas. When 30days/Greek yogurt ends I have this insane idea to do 30days/olives, because olives are a food I have only ever encountered on pizzas and skewered on the end of sticks. But I don’t know how well that’d end up, and that’s putting the cart before the horse anyway. It’s like day 5 so far? So I still have a long way to go.

(AFTER 52DAYS/QUICHE I WANT TO DO 52DAYS/RISOTTO…)

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Not much to say, actually. Mushroom, onion, cheese mix. Cobbled together from various recipes across the internet, flavored with laziness.

Most recipes call for cream/dairy thicker than milk for the custard to set, and I didn’t have that so I was just like EHH don’t wanna go to Safeway for something I won’t use up, milk should be okay right?

Answer: no.

At least, not the way I did it. It ended up with a texture more like jidangeng/chawanmushi than anything else. I think I didn’t bake it long enough for it to fully set. Google tells me that milk-only quiches generally turn out just fine, so next time I guess I’ll just let it sit in the oven for a while longer.

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As you can see it kind of collapsed and started oozing quiche essence after being cut. Or, don’t look too closely and save your sensibilities. Just trust me. It started oozing.

The crust was also nice and crisp on the outside, but kinda soft on the inside. I guess I should bake it once first?

So yeah. We’ll see if there are any improvements next time!

 

Emily

day 4: cranberry coffee cake

A while ago (like a really long time ago. around Thanksgiving…) I bought cranberries because they were on sale, and I had this delusion that they were gonna taste like hydrated craisins.

so I was super disappointed when I had one and it was so sour and astringent that I felt like my face was shriveling up. And then feeding the rest to Qiao didn’t work, so I looked up a bunch of cranberry recipes. Most of it was cranberry sauce/jam/liquid cranberry stuff, which I wasn’t super into because what would I do with that much cranberry sauce? The only cake recipe that looked semi-decent involved Greek yogurt, and I decided to ignore that one, because Greek yogurt. So I pushed the whole bag to the back of the freezer and proceeded to forget about it.

(for five months…)

But I kept that coffee cake tab open on my browser for an inordinate span of time instead of throwing it onto the arid wasteland that is my pinterest collection, because I like to trick myself into thinking that I’ll actually end up making the random stuff that I find on the internet. And because I use it so rarely that I forget I even have a pinterest.

And then a few weeks after I finally convinced myself to close the tab, I realized I COULD make the cake. So I had to Google it again. And then I found an even better recipe involving streusel. Moral of the story, sometimes life works out really well.

(time to find something to do with that pumpkin puree from around Halloween…?)

 

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/cranberry-coffee-cake/ <- the super cool recipe with streusel. Although I skipped the zest because I’m not fancy enough for that (coughlazycough) cut the sugar to about 3/4 cup.

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I baked the cake on parchment paper, which makes for kind of ugly pictures, but is so easy to remove. My brain even inserted a pop! sound effect. It only worked so well because the batter was so thick though – it felt almost like bread, and weighed down the paper really well. I tried to do the paper border on a angel food cake, and that failed miserably. It turned into this sad inverted cake thing. More on that tomorrow. Lesson learned, invest in an actual angel food cake pan, I guess. Or do cupcakes, apparently those work really well.

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I don’t know why this picture came out with so much blue light, but I quite like it. It’s like Hunger Games bread, or something.

Even though the streusel looks really great (har har patting myself on the back here…), I was kind of bummed because I ended up with SO MUCH LEFT OVER. Like enough to fill an old peanut butter jar, which is now hanging out in the freezer. I guess I should have anticipated that, because the original recipe called for a larger surface area = a flatter cake, so it would have used up more streusel. I used a loaf pan, which made for nicely square cake slices. I should have done two or three layers of streusel rather than just one…

On the bright side, I am now equipped to smother everything that goes into the oven with streusel. Provided I don’t forget about it…

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Baking in a loaf pan isn’t completely free of problems though – I’m not sure if this is a result of not baking long enough, or because the bottom of the cake’s been squished by the top half, but if you look at the bottom of the cake, right underneath the two cranberries, there’s this weird blurry bit. That’s not the lens’ fault – it looks like that in real life too. So I’m guessing I probably didn’t bake quite long enough.

(still tastes good though.)

And that squiggly brown line in the middle is a layer of streusel. See what I mean? It looks kind of measly… I should have done a thicker line of streusel, or maybe two lines instead of just one.

(still tastes good though.)

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and a fancy food shot, just for you.

 

So I stalled for a bit before remembering what I wanted to say. Then I had a lightbulb moment because I realized I haven’t talked about actually eating it. So far I’ve had it twice – once straight out the oven because I’m not boss enough to control my inner glutton, and once after it cooled.

Straight out of the oven, it was really sweet. Even after I cut the sugar down. I don’t know if this was a result of me eating something/not eating something before trying it, me having wimpy taste buds, or because it was hot? I can’t chemistry, so I have no idea. It also felt confusingly like really thick not-bread-not-cake.

But it tasted really good after it cooled. Nicely dense (I feel like more than one slice would sit like a stone in your tummy, though) and the perfect amount of sweetness. I think it’ll be one of those cake that actually gets better after a few days, on account of the denseness. I’ll update, probably. We can do an experiment – one slice a day, and we’ll see how long it takes for me to either finish the loaf or get horribly sick. With reports on taste/texture/deteriorating chemical makeup/number of bacterial colonies, or something.

Joking. Back on topic now.

The cranberries are still sour, but I’m starting to realize that’s just the fickle nature of cranberries. They like to be really sweet when dried and packaged in resealable plastic bags, but abominably sour otherwise.

I’ve got you figured out, Mr. Cranberry.

 

Also!

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Cynthia sent me a cute snapchat after I snapped her the cake!

I’m probably going to do another cake in a few weeks? maybe? Just to see if baking for longer will work. Not with cranberries though. Maybe strawberries? If that’s a good idea. And if I’m not absolutely sick of them. We’ll see.

 

Emily